Documents and Statements

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” – Pope Francis, July 29, 2013

There has been amazing progress in the perception and pastoral care of lesbian and gay Catholics in the last 50 years, thanks to New Ways Ministry, Pope Francis, Dignity, the Conference for Catholic Lesbians, Fortunate Families, and many brave and supportive lay Catholics, women religious, bishops, and priests. The inspiration for change has come from the lesbian and gay Catholics who came out and stayed in the Faith; as well as those who left–too angry or broken-hearted to remain. 

Principles to Guide Confessors in Questions of Homosexuality by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 

New Ways Ministry – VOICES OF HOPE – Part One – Positive Catholic Statements on Gay and Lesbian Issues

Persona Humana – Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics – by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 

New Ways Ministry – VOICES OF HOPE – Part Two – Positive Catholic Documents on Gay and Lesbian Issues, 1979-1992

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith 

New Ways Ministry – VOICES OF HOPE – Part Three – Responses to the 1992 Vatican Statement on Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons. 

The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality – Guidelines for Education with the Family by the Pontifical Council for the Family 

Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers – A Statement by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family 

Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Chastity and Homosexuality,” nos. 2357-2359 – Second Edition, Revised in accordance with the official Latin text promulgated by Pope John Paul II. Printed March 2000

Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 

Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of the Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders by the Congregation for Catholic Education

Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 

Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky spoke at the 8th annual New Ways Ministry symposium on April 28-30, 2017.  He said he was humbled by those who have pursued “a life of faith in a church that has not always welcomed or valued” them and their worth.  Bishop Stowe recalled that on his many visits to confirmation classes, teens in his diocese ask: “Why can’t gay and lesbian people be themselves? Bishop Stowe, why can’t they love who they want?” 

The Strength of a Vocation – Consecrated Life Today – Pope Francis’ Conversation with Fernando Prado, CMF 

In the 2020 documentary, “Francesco,” Pope Francis said gay people are “children of God” and “have a right to be part of the family.” He also reiterated his long support for lesbian and gay civil unions. “What we have to create is a civil union law.  That way they (gay and lesbian couples) are legally covered.  I stood up for that.”

God Is On Your Side: A Statement from Catholic Bishops on Protecting LGBT Youth was published on January 21, 2021. Most of all, know that God created you, God loves you and God is on your side.”

Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the blessing of the unions of persons of the same sex 

On June 21, 2021, Pope Francis sent a letter of encouragement to Fr. James Martin, SJ, for his pastoral ministry to the LGBT community. Fr. Martin’s apostolate is Outreach.  In his letter, Pope Francis said: “I pray for you to continue this way, being close, compassionate and with great tenderness.” “And I pray for your faithful, your ‘flock’ and all those whom the Lord places in your care, so that you protect them, and make them grow in the Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he wrote. 

In 2021, Pope Francis wrote two letters of support and appreciation to Sr. Jeannine Gramick of New Ways Ministry, a noted advocate for respect and inclusion of LGBT Catholics in their families, parishes and the church. “I know how much she has suffered,” the pope wrote. “She is a valiant woman who makes her decisions in prayer.” One of these letters was published in America magazine on January 7, 2022. 

#OutInChurch – For a church without fear was published on January 24, 2022 by German bishops.  It appealed for a revision to church teaching on LGBT people, which is described as “defamatory and outdated” expressions of Catholic doctrine. 

In a general audience on January 26, 2022, Pope Francis told parents, “Never condemn your children. Parents who see that their children have different sexual orientations, how they manage that and accompany their children and not hide behind a condemning attitude.”

The “National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America” was released on September 19, 2022. The document included several supportive statements of LGBT people.  “In order to become a more welcoming Church there is a deep need for ongoing discernment of the whole Church on how best to accompany our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.” 

“Being pastorally close to homosexual persons–For a welcoming church that excludes no one” was published on September 20, 2022 by Cardinal Jozef De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussels and other bishops from the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium.  The bishops’ publication contains a suggested liturgy for same-sex blessings, including prayers, scripture readings, and parts in which the couple can “express before God how they are committed to one another.” “Believers living in a stable homosexual relationship desire respect and appreciation within a faith community. It hurts when they feel they do not belong or are excluded. They want to be heard and recognized.”

“Enlarge the space of your tent” was published by the Vatican’s General Secretariat of the Synod on October 27, 2022. This 44-page document calls for “a Church capable of radical inclusion,” and stresses the need to reach out to those who feel alienated from, or marginalized by, the Church. It calls for greater efforts to include women in decision-making roles, and to reach out to homosexuals, divorced and remarried couples, single parents, young people, and victims of racism and abuse.  This working document will be used during the “Synod on Synodality” which runs through October 2024.

“It is notable that these traditional arguments against homosexuality and contraceptives have no relevance to sex between women, yet Catholic lesbians are covered by the same condemnatory language as gay men.  This may be because Catholic sexual morality is male-oriented, and in its ignorance of female sexuality it overlooks the sexual experience of half the human race.” Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg, Belgium, and President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union.

“Being homosexual is not a crime but a part of the human condition…Someone might say homosexuality is a sin. First we must distinguish between sin and crime…Any sexual act is a sin outside of marriage. It is also a sin to lack charity toward one another.” Pope Francis, January 25, 2023.

“God is Father and does not deny any of His children…And God’s style is closeness, mercy, tenderness. Not judgement and marginalization. God draws near with love to each of His children, to each and everyone one of them. His heart is open to each and every one.” – Pope Francis, January 27, 2023, during an interview in Edizioni San Paolo when asked about gay people. 

“The effect of the tradition that all sexual acts outside of marriage constitute objectively grave sin has been to focus the Christian moral life disproportionally upon sexual activity. Sexual activity, while profound, does not lie at the heart of this hierarchy (of truths). Yet in pastoral practice we have placed it at the very center of our structures of exclusion from the Eucharist. This should change.”  – Cardinal Robert McElroy, Archbishop of San Diego, California, in an interview with America magazine, February 3, 2023.


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